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Daily COVID-19 Updates: April 1

April 1, 2020
GM, Fiat Car Sales Fall; US Factory Orders, Employment Plummet; Distributing Ventilators Via Blockchain

Social distancing and stay-at-home policies enacted by states and local government continued to impact economic conditions for manufacturers across the country. Manufacturers used to supplying clients whose businesses have been forced to close are seeing orders cancelled: Others struggle to source parts and materials for products in high demand.

Yet, despite the clear harm done to industry, there are glimmers of hope in the same policies. According to Gavin Newsom, the Governor of California, the West Coast is showing signs of benefiting from social distancing policies which work to slow the virus’s spread and prevent disastrous overloading of medical systems. Governor of Washington Jay Inslee reported that the rate of new infections appeared to slow.

And manufacturers working out of China continued to report conditions slowly returning to normal—a light at the end of the tunnel for manufacturers in the United States.

GM, Fiat Car Sales Tumble

General Motors and Fiat-Chrysler’s U.S. division both released subpar sales results for the first quarter of financial year 2020 today, April 1. GM saw vehicle sales decline by 10% and FCA by 7% compared to the first quarter of 2019.

Both automakers have been forced to close auto production in the United States due to the coronavirus, and both are attempting to stem the sales loss by offering incentives and enhanced means of purchasing a car without customers having to visit a dealership. Read the full story here.

ISM Report: Employment and New Orders at Decade Lows

According to the monthly report from the Institute of Supply Management, manufacturing indexes measuring employment and new orders in the manufacturing sector are both at lows unseen since 2009. The manufacturing employment index fell to 43.8% from 46.9%, and the new orders index fell to 42.2%.

Manufacturing executives surveyed for the report cited supply chain chaos and clients forced to close their businesses cancelling orders. Both trends contributed to a decrease in factory output: One surveyed executive claimed their machinery plant had production losses as severe as 30%. Read the full story here.

How to Deploy Thousands and Thousands of Ventilators

The issue of ventilator shortages has loomed large over much recent coronavirus coverage after Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York made a very public request for 300,000 of the life-support systems of President Donald Trump. High-profile manufacturers like GM and Ford have stepped up efforts to partner with ventilator manufacturers and make their own models or parts.

Acquiring more ventilators is one problem, but another problem is how to distribute the ones we have. Strategic Consultant W. David Stephenson argues that using the Internet of Things and blockchain to distribute the machines is a solution that could save lives and pave the way for “large-scale commercial applications in the future.” Read the full story here.

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